Despite a slowdown in global economic growth and electronics industry growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, signs that the recovery is resuming in the United States is apparent, according to the quarterly Market Data Update from global trade association IPC.
The IPC Update reports that the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone has been holding back economic growth worldwide, while China's growth is decelerating, in part due to a lower export outlook.
But the report also notes that U.S. economic indicators continued a slow and steady improvement that began in the fourth quarter of 2011. Among them: the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI) remained flat for a year, but has been inching up since last October 2011, pointing to improved economic conditions in the next quarter. The report also noted that the U.S. Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is also in positive territory and trending upward.
IPC reported that EMS and assembly equipment sales growth in North American, although slower, remained positive, while most other supply chain segments in the region - including the PCB and semiconductor industries - continued a downward trend. IPC also reported that sales growth in the global electronics supply chain continued a downward trend in last quarter of 2011.
On the other hand, the report said, leading indicators in North America are trending gradually upward and indicate a resumption of modest growth in 2012. IPC's noted that its PCB book-to-bill ratio edged up to 1.01, just above parity, in January 2012. Monthly growth rates for North American EMS and semiconductor sales, and U.S. new orders for electronic end-products, improved in the last two months of 2011, returning to positive growth in December.
The report also stated that manufacturing leads U.S. economic growth. Federal Reserve data showed that factory production grew 1.5% in December, for its largest single-month increase since December 2006, and it was still growing in January 2012.
to Daily News